Why Diets Don't Work: Creating a Personalized Approach to Wellness

 
Why Diets Don’t Work
 

There is no one-size-fits-all diet, lifestyle, medical treatment, article of clothing…because there is no one-size-fits-all anything! We are all dynamically unique and have different needs in all areas of our lives as individuals. Imagine that there was a survey taken of bike helmet, shoe or other article of clothing sizes. Once an average was determined, helmet, shoe and clothing makers began only making the average size and sold that ONE size to everyone.

While the helmets, shoes or clothes may fit some people just fine, for many others it may be potentially harmful and most definitely uncomfortable! There just is no one-size-fits-all! The same is true with how you care for yourself. If you try to stuff yourself into a theory, exercise routine, meditation practice or even sleep schedule that does not suit you, you will be uncomfortable and it could even be potentially harmful for you.

This same concept is true for nearly everything. However, we are bombarded with messages from media, the medical community and other sources that there is only ONE best way to eat, to live, to love and to be. Not to mention that the headlines surrounding that ONE best way to eat, lose weight, live, love and be etc… changes all the time creating constant confusion about health and wellness.

This is precisely why diets don’t work for long term weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that long-term and yo-yo dieting actually cause weight gain. With a diet there is always an end point, so what happens when it’s over? First there is a sense of relief that you don’t have to starve yourself any longer and your metabolic functions may be out of whack after imposing excessive restriction sending you into an overeating frenzy.

Dietary theories, which are less about being on a diet and more about eating within a specific dietary plan also don’t work long term as they tend to have a higher level of restriction. These theories also often have a dogmatic view of food—such as this food is good, this food is bad—which instills a sense of fear around certain foods and creates extremes and confusion. Living in fear is never a good thing. 

A personalized approach to nutrition and wellness may include choosing to stay away from certain foods, however, you want that decision to be because that is your choice based on how that food makes you feel rather than being fearful of that particular food. When you are free and able to make a choice based on your health and how you want to feel, you create a mindset of empowerment. The more empowered you feel, the more you will begin to develop a healthy relationship with your intuition and your choices will be guided by your ability to truly listen to your body.

So you might be wondering, how do I create a personalized wellness plan? It can be extremely useful to do this in conjunction with a (w)holistic health and wellness coach, especially if you feel confused and overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there. I recommend finding someone who works from a mindful and intuitive eating approach and encourages YOU to be the expert on YOUR body and a uses a highly individualized perspective.

But really, the thing is, YOU are the expert on YOUR body! You can become your own coach and can learn to tune in, listen and determine for yourself what your body needs, how to feed it, how to move it and how to best care for it. You are the only one who can determine what combination of foods makes you feel your best, what portions, combination of nutrients and timing of eating allows you to feel full, satisfied as well as the ability to maintain energy and overall wellness. Only you can determine what exercise—and really what anything—is best for you because YOU are the expert on YOU!

Becoming intuitively connected to your body by understanding its needs. You will recognize intuitively how food, supplements, medications, exercise plans, meditations and so on make you feel and this will give you valuable feedback that will inform your choices. If it is recommended that you go on a high protein diet and you feel disgusted by having yet another protein whatever, that is valuable information from your body. If it is recommended that you go on a plant-based diet and you are constantly starving and have low energy, that is valuable information from your body as well.

The thing is, some people will feel amazing on a plant-based foods only lifestyle—while others will feel miserable. The same is true that some will feel amazing on a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet and others will feel horrible. We are all dynamically unique and have needs that are very specific to our own individual make up—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and energetically.

The process of becoming more in tune with your body is all about mindfulness, self-awareness, emotional awareness and learning to pay close attention. The process is about truly listening to your body which often speaks in soft whispers and subtle messages. Adapting a mindful approach encourages that when you eat, eat—when you drink, drink. Notice the impact of what you are eating and drinking on your body. While you do not want to be restrictive in your dietary choices due to the tendency to over-eat after a period of restricting, understanding the difference between emotional and general food cravings allows you to intuitively check in with how your choices make you feel.

When you are truly intuitive and mindful you will be diligent and practical with your choices. Having your health become your focus will allow you to make empowered decisions. This helps take away the fear of food as well as the feeling of being deprived or restricted. The middle road is really the most sustainable, the most effective and the most realistic. The moderate path, mindful eating and tuning into your intuitive wisdom surrounding your food and lifestyle choices will help you heal your relationship with food as well as with yourself.

If you are interested in immersing yourself in a journey to heal your relationship with food using these practices and principles, Finding Freedom From Emotional Eating is designed just for you. This LIVE course begins on MONDAY February 4th, you can learn more or sign up here!

3 Nutritional Ways to Aid Your Body's Natural Detox Process

 
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Earlier this week I posted about how this time of year is synonymous with a desire to create change, cleanse, detox and just overall feel more balanced and healthy. In case you missed it, you can catch it here! I wanted to follow up with a post about how you can address the concept of cleansing and detoxing from a nutritional perspective as well!

When your body is well nourished you create a solid foundation to find and create balance in body, mind and spirit. When you feel healthy and vital physically, you have an opportunity to focus your energy in many other fulfilling areas of your life. However, when you are feeling unwell and as is if your body is “toxic”, it can be challenging to live in balance or focus on wellness beyond the physical.

When your body is in a state of wellness and balance, there is no need for any major or extreme measures of cleansing or detoxing. As I previously stated (and will probably mention countless times in the future), your body is amazing. Your body is designed to find and remain in balance. When you create an environment of wellness, your body will work hard to heal itself!

If you started some of the cleansing practices I discussed in the previous post, I hope you are finding them to be useful. Below are three nutrition-based elements to incorporate into your wellness routine. These nutritional additions will assist your body in the process of maintaining balance by keeping its natural detox channels working efficiently and effectively. Here are three super simple and quite delicious additions you can add today!

1.    Chia Seeds

Many parts of our body are lined with a mucous membrane that secrete mucus, which is a thick protective fluid (I know—kinda gross to think about). The mucus helps to rid your body of toxins, microbes and pathogens. I remember learning in my anatomy training to become a yoga teacher that we swallow some disgusting amount of mucus daily. This mucosal lining helps assist these foreign invaders to the exit routes of elimination! The exits again are elimination through your bowels, urinary tract, your breath on the exhale and through your skin.

Here is where chia seeds come in! Many of us may have a slightly challenged digestive tract, so if you are like me, I’m sure yours can use all the help it can get! Chia seeds, when soaked in liquid, become viscous or gelatinous. The membrane that surrounds the chia seed—once eaten and as it swells—helps assist your body in the process of absorbing microbes, pathogens and toxins from the digestive tract and move them into the proper elimination channels: the bowels. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants, fiber, omega 3’s and protein. Try adding chia seeds to salads and smoothies and make chia pudding (there is a recipe on my resources page) as a super tasty and super nutritious treat! 

2.    Fresh Herbs: Spotlight on Cilantro and Parsley

While all fresh herbs offer a ton of nutritional benefits, cilantro and parsley offer some special super powers! Not only are these herbs rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants and delicious flavor (although there is a small slice of the population to whom cilantro tastes like soap—so sorry—it may not be so delicious to everyone!) they are also shown to bind to toxic metals, loosen them from your tissues and assist with eliminating them from your body! That’s pretty amazing.

Heavy metal toxicity is becoming more common with the amount of heavy toxic metals we are exposed to through our food containers, binders in vaccinations and otherwise. Heavy metal toxicity has been shown to decrease mental wellness and memory while increasing headaches, anxiety, depression—and it can cause disruption in the elimination systems and immune system. This is not good! Adding in cilantro and parsley regularly will help keep your body healthy in ways you may never have imagined. 

Try adding fresh organic cilantro to stir fry’s, salads, guacamole, dressings and other dishes. Add parsley to salads, sauces, dressings, and marinades to receive all of the powerful benefits.

3.    Turmeric-Ginger-Lemon-Honey-Super-Shot

The health benefits of fresh turmeric and ginger are many—add in some lemon and local raw honey—and you have a power shot to keep your body functioning in top notch form! I prefer to blend all of the ingredients together (recipe below!) and drink it as a shot. You can juice the turmeric, ginger and lemon and add in honey as well. 

Turmeric is known to be a helpful aid to your body’s natural detox processes as it helps your liver to efficiently process metabolic wastes and toxins. Turmeric heals your liver by rejuvenating liver cells and protects your bile ducts. It also soothes the digestive tract with its anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease digestion. That’s pretty awesome—and this is only how turmeric benefits your body’s natural detox channels, it really does much, much more!

Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in typical “cleanses” because it stimulates digestion and circulation. Due to the warming qualities of ginger it induces sweating—another of the body’s natural channels for detoxing—elimination of toxins through your skin! The increased digestive power helps to cleanse any built-up waste and toxins in your digestive tract and colon. Healthy elimination equals a healthy body, and a healthy body helps to create the opportunity for a healthy mind, spirit and life!

Lemon is another powerful natural cleanser. It adds so much more than delicious flavor to this cleansing super-shot! Lemon helps to flush toxins and potentially harmful bacteria out of your body by giving your liver a boost with its high vitamin C content and increased hydration. Lemon juice also strengthens your digestive fires and encourages the production of bile. That’s some good cleansing that’s safe to do every day. 

Raw, local honey has many health benefits as well. When you focus on its ability to assist with ridding your body of harmful toxins, it is right up there with the other three ingredients in this super-shot. In addition, honey adds sweetness and allows the flavors to all come together. Raw honey offers many healing enzymes and bacteria eliminating properties that aid your body in finding balance and overall wellness. Adding honey to this natural cleansing power shot assists in healing your digestive tract and releasing toxins from your system through elimination.

Recipe:

2 inches fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ teaspoon raw, (local if possible) honey

¼ cup filtered water

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

While there are certainly MANY other beneficial nutrient dense foods that aid in your body’s natural cleansing and detoxing processes, these three options are a simple and great place to begin. If you begin to incorporate any of these into your daily wellness routine, I’d love to hear how they work for you!

3 Practices to Aid Your Body's Natural Detox Process

 
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This time of year you may hear a lot of people talking about doing a detox or a cleanse. These detoxes, or cleanses may be a juice or smoothie cleanse or it might be taking a bunch of supplements that are promised to cleanse your system and rid your body of any residual toxins from over-indulging during the holiday season. I am here to say that no extreme measures are necessary to help keep your body’s natural detoxing abilities at top notch!

Your body is amazing, it works hard to keep you in a state of balance, or homeostasis, at all times. When given half a chance your body WILL heal itself. So why does it seem that we feel like we need a heavy duty detox and cleanses in order to be healthy? The fact is, we are exposed to A TON of potential toxins all day long. From the foods we eat to what we might drink to the air we breathe, potential harmful toxins are out there. Two primary toxins your body has to manage are the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol when they are flooding your body excessively. We are living more stressful lives and yet not necessarily managing the stress well. These practices below will help you keep your body’s natural detoxing channels working effectively and efficiently while creating more balance and reducing your stress!

For now, when thinking about detoxing, think about it in a way that allows you to consider how to maintain the natural detox channels within your body not as a one time thing, or only used if you feel you “over-indulge.” When you incorporate these practices below, you will give your body a greater chance of naturally detoxing the excessive environmental and internal toxins we are exposed to every single day.

Your body releases toxins through these primary channels: elimination through the bowels, elimination through the urinary tract, elimination through your breath and through your skin. All of the organ systems of the body are intimately interconnected and work hard to release toxins through these channels. Having a basic wellness routine helps to keep these systems of the body in optimal balance.

Here are three natural, safe and easily doable practices you can add into your wellness routine regularly in order to aid your body’s natural detoxing processes.

1.    Sweat + Rehydrate

Do you notice in the summer that you typically don’t get as many illnesses as in the fall, winter and spring? The body releases toxins through the skin by sweating and in the summer, we naturally sweat way more and focus on hydration than in the other months! Doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise will help you break a sweat for a sustained period of time. Exercise—which can be absolutely free!—is the best place to begin when focusing on detoxing using the skin as primary channel of elimination. Taking up jogging, cycling, getting to an aerobics class or high intensity interval training (HIIT) or even hot yoga can all be a great place to begin.

You can also use an infrared sauna for 15-40 minutes 1-3 times per week. This option comes with a price, but the benefits are many! As always, you want to start slowly and work your way up if you have not been breaking a sweat for a while! And of course, sweating more must come along with drinking more water! Hydration is key to continue to release the toxins through elimination as well!

2.    Oil Pulling + Tongue Scraping

This is a super simple practice to add to your morning routine. When you wake up, take a tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil and swish it in your mouth for 5-20 minutes, the longer the better. Be sure to spit the oil out into a trash can and not into your sink drain! A lot of microbes get into our system through our mucus membrane, and they enter the system right in your mouth. Oil pulling attracts the microbes and other toxins and releases them when you spit it out. After you spit out the oil, you might swish your mouth with water and spit that as well. Then, using a tongue scraper, gently scrape over your tongue 1-3 times, rinsing your mouth once again.

3.    Kapalabhati Breath

*Do not practice this breath if you are pregnant, have untreated hypertension, abdominal pain, heart disease or stomach problems such as ulcers or IBS. Stop if you feel dizzy or anxious. There are many wonderful breathing practices out there, so if this one isn’t for you, that’s ok!

The Kapalabhati Breath is a powerful breathing practice that helps to cleanse the sinuses and invigorates the digestive system. This breath is best practiced on an empty stomach. You will want to start with a low amount of repetitions and begin to increase slowly over time. Kapalabhati is translated to mean “skull-shining breath.” The meaning is believed to relate to the cleansing benefits of the practice, that it creates smooth and brightened skin—especially recognized on your face!

This breathing practice helps you to release stress and toxins from the mind and body. It helps to cleanse the lungs, increases oxygen to your cells, improves digestion, clears your mind and increases focus and attention. This breathing practice helps to improve your mood and increases energy. The practice consists of a forceful exhalation through your nose where you quickly draw your navel in towards your spine followed by a natural inhalation through your nose. The movement primarily involves your diaphragm. Begin slowly, starting with five repetitions quickly in a row. Over time you can slowly increase the repetitions as it becomes more comfortable. I now do a round of one hundred repetitions in the morning.

Try these three practices and notice how you feel. If one of the practices works for you, continue using it, if it does not, there are many other practices and options to encourage the natural detox process of your body.

If you do try any of these, let me know how they work for you!